Versatile Talan Alfrey hopes to make plenty of big plays this season as Auburn Mountainview mounts another run at the playoffs. MARK KLAAS, Auburn Reporter

Humble, gifted Lion leading the way | Prep football preview

Talan Alfrey understands that it’s better to give than to receive.

Auburn Mountainview High School’s all-purpose athlete for all seasons is ready to take the next step and join Brigham Young University come early summer to immediately serve a two-year church mission at a to-be-determined pilgrimage before enrolling for class in 2020.

It’s his way of giving back to the community, true to the spirit of his Mormon faith.

“For me, Jesus is my savior, and he gave his life for me,” said Alfrey, who verbally committed in July to attend BYU on a football scholarship. He had offers from the Air Force Academy, Nevada and Idaho. “Two years of my life is nothing compared to what he gave to me, so this is how I can repay and share my believe and happiness I get from that and from others.”

Before he takes that big step to Provo, Utah, Alfrey has much to give and share at home, at school and on the field.

This fall, the Lions are counting on the 6-foot-2, 195-pound senior to produce in many ways as a playmaker in a wide-open spread attack and as a roaming free safety on defense. The Lions open the season Friday at Kentlake. Kickoff is 7 p.m. at French Field.

Alfrey returns to his more suited position, wide receiver, this fall. He was called to quarterback duty last fall after the starter, Sui Daniels, suffered a season-ending broken collarbone during a Week 2 loss to Lincoln. Alfrey performed well, even though throwing the ball doesn’t come naturally to him.

Daniels has come back better than ever this season, and Alfrey is optimistic.

“I have a really good quarterback who I like a lot,” he said. “I hope to catch more passes than I did last year.

“As a team, we have a lot of potential. We’ve been there (in the playoffs) the past few years. We just always want to go further. We have the talent and the ability to do so. Use what we have correctly, and we can be pretty dangerous.”

Alfrey will set the tone if the Lions, 5-5 a year ago, want to return to the district playoffs and make a push for a state berth for the first time since 2013.

Alfrey, the returning North Puget Sound League Olympic Division All-Around Player of the Year, passed for 1,051 yards, rushed for 581 and had 221 receiving yards last season. He led the Lions with 61 solo tackles and pinned nine punts inside the 20.

Coach Jared Gervais and his staff plan to give the ball to their dynamic player as much as they can, even if it means directly snapping the ball to Alfrey in the backfield.

“He’s one of the best athletes I ever coached in terms of explosiveness, speed, strength and all of that stuff,” said Gervais, whose program has produced a steady stream of Division I college players. “He’s just amazing, but his personality and the way that he acts is pretty unique. He’s one of the nicest kids to be around and one of the most humble kids I’ve ever been around.

“It’s pretty cool to see the kind of kid, who has all the tools that he has, behave the way that he does,” Gervais said of the three-sport athlete. “The kids know he’s the best player on the team, but he doesn’t in any way act like he’s better than anyone. He treats everyone the same every time.”

Alfrey understands the value of hard work. One of six children, he embraces that importance of family, friends, faith and team.

After football, he plans to return to the basketball court as a returning all-league performer. Come spring, he will look to stretch his school-record-breaking effort in the triple jump and go after the school’s mark in the long jump.

But for now, beyond individual achievements, Alfrey wants to do whatever it takes to help the Lions win and maintain the program’s grip of the Fugate Trophy, the winner of the three-school all-city season series. The Lions have had the trophy for three years now.

“That’s the goal,” he said.

Notes

Gervais expects the NPSL Olympic Division to be up for grabs. “We could be inconsistent at the beginning of the season, but every game on the schedule could be a win or could be a loss. The league is very even. …. It should be fun. … If I had my way, the Auburn schools would finish one, two, three … right?” … In addition to Alfrey and Daniels, the Lions return core starters: linemen Wyatt Lewis (6-2, 265 pounds, senior), Damion Lowe (6-0, 235, senior) and Jaron Marks (6-1, 230, junior); deep threat wide receiver and defensive back Bill Benjamin (6-3, 175, junior); and linebacker Chandler Bartoy (5-9, 180, junior). … Among the key newcomers, Damarea Dunnigan (5-8, 160, senior) and Cooper White (5-7, 150, sophomore) are quick slot receivers. Jack Etcheverry (6-1, 240, senior) adds size up front. Jared Currie (5-7, 155, junior), Zaire Lozolo (5-8, 185, sophomore) and Drew Davenport (5-9, 170, sophomore) provide options in both backfields. …

Auburn Riverside, 6-4 a year ago, returns plenty of talent as it continues its rise in the Olympic Division and builds for another push for the playoffs. Fifth-year coach Bryant Thomas welcomes back dual-threat quarterback Tiano Malietufa, who was an all-league first-team performer at linebacker last season. Also returning is running back Sam Braboy. Massive tackle Aaron Moffitt anchors one side of the line. Defensive end Justus Legg, a Division I recruit, occupies one defensive end spot. Isaiah Prescott, an all-league player last season, speedster Jaden Robinson and Javon Forward are back as passing targets and leaders in the secondary. …

Auburn returns several top players from last year’s 5-4 team, including all-league running back Joe Faga and lineman Jacob Kludsikofsky, a 6-3, 275-pound senior. Defensive lineman Anthony King, a 245-pound senior, and linebacker Cole Washburn were second-team all-league performers last season. Hope Tuamoheloa and Calvin Liulamaga lead the secondary.

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